The government of Costa Rica announced that it has scheduled the departure of the first group of Cuban emigrants attempting to reach the United States, who have been stranded in the country since mid-November, for next Tuesday, January 12.
According to an official statement cited by Prensa Latina, 180 Cubans will leave Costa Rica on a charter flight to El Salvador, from where they will board a bus to Guatemala and continue on to the Mexican border, before crossing into U.S. territory.
Costa Rican authorities based selection of the group on the migrants’ arrival date to the country, and ability to pay for the trip, which in total will cost $555 for adults and $350 for children. It includes transportation, food, entry and departure taxes in each country, plus health insurance.
The statement noted that the process will be governed by the migratory legislation of each of the states en route, namely Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala and Mexico.
Meanwhile, the intended final destination of the Cubans, the United States, maintains its “wet foot, dry foot” policy and the Cuban Adjustment Act, which serve to encourage illegal emigration of Cubans, to the detriment of agreements signed with the island.
These travel arrangements for the Cubans were organized at the request of the International Organization for Migration (IOM), with the support of the United Nations System.
Costa Rican Foreign Minister Manuel González stressed that this extraordinary mechanism is only applicable to the 7,802 Cubans who were granted transit visas. This will not become a regular process, he noted.
“It is not open to other nationalities. This situation is generated by the Cuban Adjustment Act, which several countries have described as inappropriate. But we are aware that this law will persist,” the Foreign Minister told Costa Rican newspaper La Nación.
Meanwhile, Kathya Rodríguez, director of Immigration of Costa Rica, explained that there will not be any children traveling on this first trip, and that all those traveling were granted an extension to their Costa Rican transit visa on November 14, that is they have been in the country for the longest period of time.
The government of El Salvador yesterday reiterated its full readiness to implement this plan. A statement released by the country’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, notes that all relevant protocols are being prepared to ensure the proper, orderly and safe overland transit of the migrants to Guatemala, in accordance with the plan agreed last December 28.
Mexican Foreign Secretary Claudia Ruiz Massieu, reiterated this Thursday, January 7, her government’s position in favor of orderly migration.
Speaking at the 27th meeting of ambassadors and consuls of the country, she said that Mexico is a source country of immigrants, as well as serving as a transit country, a final destination and a return destination. “As such we have a responsibility of the highest order,” she said.
Mexican immigration officials have confirmed that the reception of the Cubans traveling from Central America follows established mechanisms and there is no cause for an immigration crisis to arise in the country.